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Easy two-factor authentication for ssh servers
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Authy SSH


  1. Authy API Key:


Type the following command in the terminal:

$ curl -O ''
$ sudo bash authy-ssh install /usr/local/bin

Then enable two-factor for your user:

$ sudo /usr/local/bin/authy-ssh enable `whoami` <your-email> <your-country-code> <your-cellphone>

Test everything is working:

$ authy-ssh test

Restart your SSH server (look below if you are not on Ubuntu).

$ sudo service ssh restart
Restarting your ssh server


sudo service ssh restart


sudo service sshd restart

RedHat and Fedora Core Linux

sudo /sbin/service sshd restart

Suse linux

sudo /etc/rc.d/sshd restart

Installing without root privileges.

Type the following command in the terminal:

$ curl '' -o authy-ssh
$ bash authy-ssh install ~/.authy-ssh/

Now protect your user:

$ bash ~/.authy-ssh/authy-ssh protect

Enable two-factor auth on a user.

After the installation is finished, you have to proactively enable the two-factor for the users you want to protect.

To enable users type the following command and fill the form:

$ sudo authy-ssh enable

If you want to do it in one line just type:

$ sudo authy-ssh enable <local-username> <user-email> <user-cellphone-country-code> <user-cellphone>

How it works

Authy-ssh uses the sshd_config directive ForceCommand to run itself before every login. Here's how your sshd_config will look after installing:

[root@ip-10-2-113-233 ~]# cat  /etc/ssh/sshd_config | grep ForceCommand
ForceCommand /usr/local/bin/authy-ssh login

] Whenever it runs authy-ssh will read it's configuration from /usr/local/bin/authy-ssh.conf Here's an example:

[root@ip-10-2-113-233 ~]# cat /usr/local/bin/authy-ssh.conf
banner=Good job! You've securely logged in with Authy.

In this case it means user root and daniel have two-factor enabled and that 1 is their authy_id. If a user is not in this list, authy-ssh will automatically let him in.

Using two-factor auth with automated deployment tools.

If you use capybara, chef, puppet, cfengine, git you can create new users for these tools so they can enter the machine without requiring two-factor. Alternatively, you can match users using the ForceCommand directive.

A good example is create a two-factor users group.

groupadd two-factor
usermod  -a -G two-factor root

Now that my root user is in the two-factor group, I edit my /etc/ssh/sshd_config

[root@ip-10-2-113-233 ~]# cat /etc/ssh/sshd_config | grep ForceCommand -A 1 -B 1
match Group two-factor
    ForceCommand /usr/local/bin/authy-ssh login

$ /sbin/service sshd restart
Stopping sshd:                                             [  OK  ]
Starting sshd:                                             [  OK  ]

Now force command will only operate on users that belong to the two-factor group.

scp, sftp, mosh and git push with two-factor authentication.

To enable non-interactive commands like scp, sftp, mosh and git clone|fetch|push you have to allow to pass the environment variable AUTHY_TOKEN from the client. To do so edit your sshd_config (normally located at /etc or /etc/ssh/) and add AUTHY_TOKEN to the AcceptEnv directive:


Then configure the client to send that variable to the server, to do so first open ~/.ssh/config and then add the following:

Host *

And finally pass the token before the command:

AUTHY_TOKEN="valid-token" git push origin master
AUTHY_TOKEN="valid-token" scp server:path/to/file local-file
AUTHY_TOKEN="valid-token" mosh server


For cases like sftp if you enter an invalid token, you may receive a response like "Received message too long 458961713". This is because the interactive command is not able to render the proper output text message returned by the program.

Multiple users sharing the same unix account.

If you have many users that need to share a single login, you can still use strong two-factor authentication without sharing the same token. This means that every user can have their own Authy Token, ensuring non-repudiation.

To achieve this, delete or comment out the ForceCommand directive from your sshd_config:

$ sudo sed -ie 's/^\(ForceCommand.*authy-ssh.*\)/#\1/g' /etc/ssh/sshd_config

and then for each person add their ssh key using the following command:

$ sudo authy-ssh protect

you should end up with an authorized_keys file that looks like:

command="/usr/local/bin/authy-ssh login 13386" ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDGRJbWu+WLVXYVADY3iQPE1kA7CIOSqHmskPM8qIAzKzq+1eRdmPwDZNmAvIQnN/0N7317Rt1bmTRLBwhl6vfSgL6677vUwsevPo27tIxdja67ELTh55xVLcJ3O8x2qkZsySgkLP/n+w3MUwLe1ht31AZOAsV7J7imhWipDijiysNgvHyeSWsHqExaL1blPOYJVHcqPbKY4SxFRq/MWeyPf/Sm24MFSKEaY6u0kNx8MLJ1X9X/YxmY9rdvzsZdQ7Z/PYhYt2Ja/0mzfYx2leeP2JQBsVfZZzAoFEPpw6mSP9kJREGe2tXvS9cRenhz/+V0+mvSJKG0f0Zzh428pTzN
command="/usr/local/bin/authy-ssh login 20" ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAyvj2d0rSDukDT04mK7njUxtXffUrOnDCm2Bqub0zN7LQS733nBHp89aMuBI5ENjw1SQ2qXhLxvK1Xhr0pQr+dOWNn3emQjQuiA+YL39yp2RLLpflerJ3KAVY09CHYLFxdKj/DJgXsH+LMAPe2uVmWCP2xAV5ZcLnz3CdS2SX/EVlbNrftesZx9uAbmwKPLY1pmW7q/75AhJRow8VTP7zM/VS7jEHkj03g51BZGB8tMI3G8RDVEDtu2jVwZiq+8BaNCyjYVlsLfu6uGhnXeeUS3swu/atlt+pxy+QTf/HGvrJR58tER+foqheWtV3LqXN4oLckzqTVkDDmnNJlmrpYQ==

The previous command will ask you the user ssh public key, cellphone and email.


To uninstall type:

$ sudo authy-ssh uninstall
$ restart your SSH server

Running Unit Tests

Fork and clone the git repository

$ cd tests
$ rake test